Six mid-block crosswalks on Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach will soon be transformed into works of art, the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) announced.
While many artists submitted their designs for a chance to participate, artist Hataya Tubtim was selected to beautify the pedestrian walkways. A long-time participant of the Long Beach arts community, this isn’t her first rodeo. Tubtim’s background is in both design and public art, earning accolades such as a fellowship by the Edwin Austin Abbey Mural program at the New York Academy of Design, according to the release.
Nearly a year ago, Tubtim painted three crosswalks in the streets of Pasadena’s Playhouse District, according to Pasadena Business Now. She also created a 45-foot-long interior, interactive wall mural, now used as an educational tool for young students visiting the playhouse district.
Her art focuses on community, nature and culture and is often inspired by the histories of places, according to the article. It’s no wonder the artist was selected, as her often marine-themed aesthetic certainly coincides with this seaside city’s history.
“I understand that good design can transform and/or anchor the identity of a place to its public, and can influence how a public interacts with the site,” said Tubtim in a statement. “The theme of the crosswalks in DTLB is Long Beach’s place as an oceanfront metropolis with a long history of innovation.”
Each crosswalk will have images of marine life set against a historical facet of Long Beach’s innovative past. For example, the crossing between First Street and Broadway will display fish if you’re heading south toward the ocean, while those walking north will see images of trains, according to the DLBA, the organization funding the project.
Studies have shown beautification and walkability improvements close to local businesses increase foot traffic, and therefore economic activity, according to the DLBA.
Other Long Beach neighborhoods have used creative, as well as continental, crosswalks to increase pedestrian safety, such as the rainbow crosswalks added to the Broadway Corridor last year, and the piano key crosswalks added in the Bixby Knolls area in September 2016.
“This creative crosswalk project serves as a perfect example of how public art can benefit the community,” said Sean Warner, placemaking manager for the DLBA, in a statement. “It not only adds to DTLB’s vivid art scene, it promotes urbanism and will increase pedestrian activity Downtown. Lighter, quicker, cheaper approaches to changing the urban landscape like this can make a big difference in improving the livability of DTLB.”
The crosswalks will be installed in mid-March.
Image courtesy of the DLBA.